Happy Easter to all who celebrate!
In honor of the holiday, let me share a favorite work by a favorite composer, sung by one of my vocal heroes. Without further ado, here is the first part of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs: Easter, sung by Sir Thomas Allen. The text is by George Herbert (1593–1633).
1. Easter – from Herbert’s Easter
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen.
Sing his praise without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand,
that thou likewise with him may’st rise;
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.
Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part with all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name, who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is the best to celebrate this most high day.
Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song pleasant and long;
Or since all musick is but three parts vied and multiplied.
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.
2. I Got Me Flowers – from the second half of Easter
I got me flowers to strew thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.
The Sunne arising in the East.
Though he give light, and th’East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.
Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.
Blessings to all my readers, and thanks for your support!